Sure, I'll Be Your Black Friend
In an era in which "I have many black friends" is often a medal of Wokeness, Ben hilariously chronicles the experience of being on the receiving end of those fist bumps. He takes us through his immigrant childhood, from wanting nothing more than friends to sit with at lunch, to his awkward teenage years, to college in the age of Obama, and adulthood in the Trump administration—two sides of the same American coin.
Ben takes his role as your new black friend seriously, providing original and borrowed wisdom on stereotypes, slurs, the whole "swimming thing," how much Beyoncé is too much Beyoncé, Black Girl Magic, the rise of the Karens, affirmative action, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other conversations you might want to have with your new BBFF.
Oscillating between the impulse to be "one of the good ones" and the occasional need to excuse himself to the restrooms, stuff his mouth with toilet paper, and scream, Ben navigates his own Blackness as an "Oreo" with too many opinions for his father's liking, an encyclopedic knowledge of CW teen dramas, and a mouth he can't always control.
From cheating his way out of swim tests to discovering stray family members in unlikely places, he finds the punchline in the serious while acknowledging the blunt truths of existing as a Black man in today's world.
Extremely timely, Sure, I'll Be Your Black Friend is a conversational take on topics both light and heavy, universal and deeply personal, which reveals incisive truths about the need for connection in all of us. (From Harper Perennial)
Ben Philippe is a writer of Haitian descent, who was raised in Montreal and is now a teacher at Barnard College in New York. He is also the author of the YA novels The Field Guide to the North American Teenager and Charming as a Verb. CBC Books named Philippe a writer to watch in 2019.
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